Goldman Sachs Puts Worker Linked to Donald Trump on Leave

A financial adviser who was recently highlighted in an article in The New York Times as the only Goldman Sachs employee to contribute to Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign has been placed on administrative leave, according to people familiar with the matter.

The employee, Luke Thorburn, made two donations, totaling $534.58, to Mr. Trump's campaign in September, according to Federal Election Commission records. He also trademarked the phrase "Make Christianity Great Again," according to public records.

The Times confirmed that Mr. Thorburn is associated with a website that sells hats that resemble Mr. Trump's red and blue "Make America Great Again" caps, replacing the word "America" with "Christianity."

Goldman employees are allowed to pursue outside business opportunities, but they first must get clearance from the company. Mr. Thorburn, a financial adviser in the bank's wealth management division, had not received approval before pursuing the hat endeavor.

Goldman, according to people briefed on the situation but not authorized to speak on the record, put Mr. Thorburn on unpaid administrative leave last week after he was interviewed by company officials about details that appeared in The Times's article.

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These people say that Mr. Thorburn sought to distance himself from the website. Ultimately, the bank became concerned about apparent inconsistencies in Mr. Thorburn's story, and placed him on leave, they said.

Mr. Thorburn did not respond to requests for comment. A person who answered his phone at Goldman said he was not expected at work on Monday. Andrew Williams, a spokesman for Goldman, declined to comment.

Mr. Thorburn has been with Goldman in New York since March 2014, according to public records kept with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which is, Wall Street's self-regulatory body. He had previously worked at JBWere, a financial services firm in Australia that has ties to Goldman.

Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, declined to comment.

Ms. Hicks, in an email sent last week, said that Mr. Trump, a Republican, did not know Mr. Thorburn. She also speculated on the reason behind Mr. Thorburn's donation.

"It is more than likely the $534 dollars was the result of him purchasing campaign merchandise, which is characterized as a campaign contribution by the F.E.C.," she wrote.

Mr. Thorburn's contribution stands out as unusual, considering how active Wall Street has been elsewhere in the 2016 presidential race.

As of last week, for instance, Goldman employees had contributed more than $199,000 to the campaign of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican, and more than $94,000 to that of Hillary Clinton, a Democrat. By contrast, Mr. Trump, who is largely financing his own campaign, has not actively solicited donations from Wall Street.

A Twitter feed associated with the "Make Christianity Great Again" website had been seeking to capitalize on its moment in the spotlight, even linking to the article that led to Mr. Thorburn's current troubles.

If the website does not prosper, Mr. Thorburn has registered other domains, including some that track closely alongside the early Republican primary calendar, such as makeiowagreatagain.com and makenewhampshiregreatagain.com.